Part 19: The Climb Is All There Is (Part 2)
So we come up to a clearing, and if you know anything about clearings in JRPGs, it means its time for a boss fight now.
CUTSCENE: A Dragon's Rage
As the party comes out of the tunnel, the shadow of a dragon passes by overhead.
Followed closely by an actual dragon.
Oh shit, it actually IS Alduin! Wheres a Dragonborn when you need one?
Leonard: What the?!
Yulie: Look! Up there!
Kara: A dragon.
God, Level-5, you couldnt even create a dragon without making it look absolutely derpy.
It spots our party and debates whether or not it wants stupid for breakfast.
Instead, it settles on smart, as it focuses on Kara for some reason.
It roars in utter rage at her.
And comes dive-bombing out of the sky at her.
Leonard: Uh oh!
Hot damn, I think it actually killed Leonard!
Something has this dragon pissed. And Im not entirely sure its Leonard this time, although this would be a good time to bring up the the White Knight drives creatures insane plot point again, but that would require a level of competence in the realm of storytelling.
Eldore: Its attacking.
It gets a subtitle, so you know what that means: Boss Fight!
BOSS FIGHT: The Ancient Dragon w/ Special Guest The Black Knight
So first you get to take on the Ancient Dragon on foot. Using the Knight is just a waste at this point because theres a scripted fight coming up that involves the Knight anyway.
Like all dragons, its weak against impact attacks.
It also has an insanely strong impact attack of its own with its wings. This is about five seconds into the fight and already all three characters are knocked flat on their asses.
You only need to knock it down to about 80% health, however. So Eldore finishes it off with Eclipse Gate, the second-strongest spell in the game and one of only two non-elemental magic attacks which you only get access to after clearing the rest of the offensive magic skill tree.
Because this is New Game+ and I dont have time for this games bullshit.
CUTSCENE: The Black Knight Returns
Yet, even though we just unleashed a torrent of ether on its ass, the Ancient Dragon is still up and kicking and still very pissed.
Yulie: Hey, dont look at us! We didnt do anything to piss you off.
Eldore: Look, Leonard! There!
CUTSCNE MUSIC: Tense Battle (Disc 1, Track 30)
Something comes blazing out of the clear blue sky.
The Black Knight?! The fuck?
General Dragias: showing off what being an actual badass with your Knight looks like since Chapter VII.
The Black Knight swoops in and give the Ancient Dragon a mouth full of Darkblade to chew on.
Yulie: The Black Knight!
Leonard: Not him again!
Eldore: Remember, one of the Arks is guarded by a dragon.
Leonard: Huh? No way!
Leonard: You think this is the one?
Quick, ignore it so you can go rescue Cisna.
The Ancient Dragon knocks the Black Knight aside and launches skyward again.
And Dragias moves to follow suit.
Theres a lot of badass air-jousting between the Black Knight and the Ancient Dragon, proving once again that if you want to see interesting characters doing cool-looking things, look elsewhere than to the main party.
Dragias misses his slash on the Ancient Dragon
And it loops around and divebombs right into his chest.
Once again, Leonard just stands there dumbfounded as forces more powerful and relevant than him clash around him.
When the dust clears, the Black Knight is out of commission, and the Ancient Dragon now lumbers towards the party.
Hey shit-for-brains! You might want to think about transforming now.
Leonard: Here I come to save the
Orren: What did the pink-haired lady say? Oh yeah, eat shit and die.
Leonard: O Wizel, white warrior, wielder of the ancient sword, grant me your power
The kid just suckerpunched a dragon. In any other game this would be a stand-up-and-cheer moment. Yet here, its met with a meh, because Leonard has blown all his chances to be an actual badass by this point, so the punch has all the impact of getting lightly assaulted by a down pillow.
Broke a 10,000 year-old majestic creatures jaw. Well, theres another one for the list.
Fuck you, Level-5. Fuck you for making it so I cant give something this inherently awesome the respect it should be due because I know that inside of it somewhere is the goddamn Ralph Wiggum of video game protagonists.
Roar. And shit
Oh, hey, Dragias is back up and at em.
So heres something curious: weve got the Black Knight as an ally for this battle.
Why is that I wonder? Why would someone as irredeemably evil as General Dragias pull an enemy-of-my-enemy thing with the White Knight on the Ancient Dragon? Wouldnt it make more sense just to let the dragon kill Leonard and then kill the dragon and fish the White Knights Ark out of its steaming innards?
So for this battle, the Black Knight is on our side, though that means its also controlled by the games dumbass party AI, and is essentially the White Knight with flight capability. It has comparable attacks to the White Knight, including a version of Sonic Blade that produces a red shockwave instead of a blue one, although it doesnt have any healing abilities.
Just like in the fight against the Gigases in the Sand Maze ruins, if the White Knight dies or hits 0 MP, its game over. And because weve got the Black Knight as a guest for this battle for whatever confounding reason, guest party member rules apply to it, which means that if the Black Knight dies, its game over too.
So theres the White Knights Sonic Blade version.
And theres the Black Knights.
You might be thinking, Jeez, Crow, that looks kind of cool seeing the White and Black Knights working together. I wonder if the game is pointing to something? Are we going to get to use the Black Knight ourselves eventually? And of course my answer is, why the fuck do you still have hope for something intuitive to happen in this game?!
CUTSCENE: Not The One They're Looking For
Anyway, the Ancient Dragon goes down thanks to what combined essentially make the Grey Knight.
So congratulations kid, you just helped a fantasy war criminal murder yet another ancient majestic creature. Are you gonna do a little cheer this time too?
The camera zooms out to a skybound POV shot.
Dragias looks on, oddly silent for some reason.
Leonard approaches for the coup de grace.
How to Train Your Dumbass
Yulie: Wait, Leonard! The dragon isnt going to hurt us now. Dont kill it.
Once again, Yulie is the only one in this party with a functioning moral compass.
Leonard nods in agreement.
Unfortunately, just like everything else in his life, Leonard doesnt get a say in the matter.
Dragias Wins! Fatality!
Dragias: Renegade for life.
Dragias: No, this was not the one.
So he books ass out of there.
And with that, the Leonard Innocent Victim Body Count raises to 3 after Ahwahnee, Lena, and now the Ancient Dragon.
Someone stop this kid before he accidentally kills again!
Leonard: Its dead.
Orren: Very observant. You got any other pearls of wisdom to share with us?
Eldore: Yes. And dragons do not tolerate those who kill their kin. More will be coming for certain. We must leave this place. Now.
Orren: You dumb son of a bitch, you bring death and destruction everywhere you go.
And on that lovely note, we fade out to the next scene. Youd think wed be hunted by dragons now for the rest of the game for what we just helped Dragias inflict upon the Ancient Dragon, right? WRONG! This game never bothers to pick up the plot threads it lays down. Eldore just said that to end the scene on an ominous note.
Actually, this will get an slight, obtuse pay off in about three hours of gameplay, but just for that one little blip in the story and then nothing again.
CUTSCENE: Dragon Soul
CUTSCENE MUSIC: Reflecting
With the party long cleared out, this guy has come along and happened upon the downed dragon.
This Guy: Who could have done this?
He knees before it and starts praying for its soul. On the one hand, this guy dresses like Shakira and has the stupid dreadlocks of a college fratboy experimenting with Rastafarianism as an excuse to get high every day, yet hes caring and responsible enough to pray for the immortal soul of a dragon after its death. So, you know, hes already head and shoulders above Leonard in the likeability department.
He pulls out a crystal from his pocket and holds it up to the dragons corpse.
It starts floating and humming with magical energy.
And the dragon starts disintegrating into green energy. Okay, I think weve found our Dragonborn.
This Guy: Fus Ro Dah!
Orren: Weve already made that joke, thank you.
This Guy: Well friend, at least you have your next life to look forward to Just pray youre not born a human.
CRAAAAAAAWLING IN MY SKIIIIIIIIN.
Nah, in all fairness, humans are rather shitty creatures, so again the guy has a level of philosophical insight that outstrips Leonard by miles. Ten points to Griffindor!
Him doing whatever with that crystal and the dragons energy or whatnot will ALSO never be expanded upon, explained, or acknowledged after this point. Because, fuck it, whatever .
CUTSCENE: Kara's Alibi
So the party gathers by a rock to do the ceremonial smacking Leonard upside the head for being an idiot ritual.
One. Two. Three. And Leonad makes Three-and-a-Quarter . Wheres Kara?
Yulie: Huh? Kara! Where were you?
Again, Yulie is the smartest party member. She realises Kara was gone and has now apparently came back.
Kara: Unconscious. You could have helped.
Eldore: My Old Man Sense is tingling.
Eldore: Oh, wait, its just my bladder. I appear to have soiled myself. Niles! Clean me!
Orren: If I ever get a Knight of my own, Im killing all of you with it.
Eldore: Our friend Ebonwings was looking for something. The dragon who guards the Knight.
Leonard: Thats good. That means the Magi havent got the hands on the next Ark yet.
Eldore: So it does.
Leonard: Not that thats as important as Princess Cisna though.
Leonard: So lets hurry up and get to those ruins.
I love how Yulie snaps to attention like some kind of soldier. Shes the only one taking his halfway seriously.
Eldore: To reach the caverns in question, we must pass through Greede first.
Eldore: Well make our way along the cliffs here until we find a gondola that connects to the city.
And were back under way to the end of Flandar Trail.
Yulie: Theres a saying: a dragon sees what the heart would hide.
Orren: Yeah, like thats not going to be suspiciously relevant later on
Eldore: Dragons rarely attack people without provocation.
Kara: Perhaps it got up on the wrong side of the bed
Leonard: I cant wait to tell Princess Cisna I killed a dragon!
Kara: Oh, maybe you can tell my sister Lena too, except, oh, right, shes dead because of you.
Behold: The Flandar Trail Gondola Station. This platform connects Greede to the rest of the world through its famous gondola system.
CUTSCENE: The Gondola Terminal
CUTSCENE MUSIC: Downtown Greede (Disc 2, Track 2)
Welp, we did it! We made it all the way to ripping off Final Fantasy VII. Doesnt this looks suspiciously like the North Coral Gold Saucer skytram station? Its even in a vaguely rundown impassable desert wasteland setting.
And now were ripping off Panzer Dragoon just for the hell of it.
Eldore: This gondola will take us down to Greede.
The party just saunters up to the station behind Eldore, completely forgetting the incident in the mountains with General Dragias and the Ancient Dragon and the fact that a swarm of pissed off dragon-kin are probably out hunting them right now.
Well, look who we have here in the background. Its That Guy. And hes got a sexy catgirl on his arm like hes Tony Stark or something.
The first two times I played this, I didnt even notice him there in the background. It was only during the footage capture run that I spotted him just walking past the party in the background.
Kara: Look like fun, Leonard?
Leonard: Wha? N-no!
So one of these things is going to take us down to Greede down in the Flandar Caldera.
Next stop: the Fetch Quest capital of Nadias!
CUTSCENE: Inbound Flight
Before we end this chapter, we get another cool pre-rendered FMV of the flight into Greede.
Enjoy these while they last, kids. Because with this games hobbled budget, were gonna run out of money for them reeeal soon.
Well, Leonard doesnt kill anyone accidentally next chapter, but we do spend much of it running around Greede looking for a way to bribe a man whos dying of Fantasy TB.
White Knight Chronciles! I literally nearly died of Pneumonia once, and it was more fun than this.
Between the dragons and the inexplicable appearance of General Dragias, things were starting to heat up. Looking back on it now, the second I stepped off the gondola in Greede would have been the perfect opportunity to ditch the lot of them and get back to doing whatever it was I did before I fell in with this lot of losers. I cant even remember what that was any more, Leonards stupidity was simply so all-encompassing.
But it turned out Don Phibs leathery ass couldnt cash the cheque his lips wrote, so once again, my only hope of getting paid was rescuing Cisna. With my payday on the line, I once again resigned myself to yet another day of torment running around in Leonards shadow.
The sooner we got to Bunker Lode, the better
- 11.1 - Setting Out... Once Again
- 11.2 - At The Foot of the Mountain
- 11.3 - Belcitane's "Retirement" Plan
- 11.4 - The Dragon's Knight
- 11.5 - The Climb Begins
- 11.6 - Sighting Greede
- 11.7 - A Dragon's Rage
- 11.i - The Ancient Dragon Boss Fight
- 11.8 - The Black Knight Returns
- 11.9 - Not The One They're Looking For
- 11.10 - Dragon Soul
- 11.11 - Kara's Alibi
- 11.12 - The Gondola Terminal
- 12.13 - Inbound Flight